Recently I had the happy experience of being seized by a bit of inspiration (majorly spoilery link) and churning out a grid in a haze. Then I sat frozen for a few days, waiting for the cluing bug to bite, until one early morning, insomnia did the trick.
Making a puzzle felt nice, because I've struggled to find the motivation for it recently after deciding to stop submitting to the New York Times. That decision wasn't about the Puzzles team—it was a response to the paper's intransigent aggression toward trans people—but it wasn't NOT on my mind that I was 0 for 16 in NYT crossword submissions, and to be honest, the rejections were getting harder to take, not easier. Partially because it was becoming painfully clear that my voice wasn't welcome, but maybe even more so because, now that I make my living in crosswords, the negative reinforcement started to manifest as doubt about my ability to do my job. It felt bad!
At any rate, refocusing my energy without the usual goal to focus on has felt a little like wandering in the woods, and whenever that sort of thing happens with me, I find it good to rip the bandaid off with a fugue-state puzzle like this one. So I hope it makes for a fun solve!
Many thanks are due to wise test solver extraordinaire, excellent crossword citizen, and all-around good guy Alex Boisvert, who continues to quietly turn out solid, funny puzzle after solid, funny puzzle (not to mention a slew of essential construction and collaboration tools) over at Crossword Nexus. Alex's new Patreon offering promises to be the solution to your suspension-of-NYT-acrostic woes, so head over and sign up!
Puzzle after the jump.
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